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eric helms

 poets; the daemon of evil-spirited blame and unfair criticism. The one whose manuscript (that is after the fallen god is banished to a rock and gelded like a horse) is salvaged for its curious formula on how a state can be reigned with strictly regulated justice.


Often in paintings and sculpture, Momus is rendered lifting a mask, literally nodding to his penchant to deceive. Moreover, born of Nyx (night) along with siblings such as Thanatos (Death), Oizus (Misery) and Oneiroi (Dreams), he is the ideal candidate for the world of Kafka, and certainly the ultimate despot for the cold, wintry darkness, which the movements of The Castle provide.


But back to some point; it is through the mask of Momus as Klamm that K. is klammed, which (in German) roots down to something kept clamped, gorged, locked. Further, it is through this mask that the daemon is able to roost over The Castle‘s labyrinth, that he is able to fracture or possess inhabitants as with the chairman, Artur and Jeremias–“the smiles” of whom K. finds “indistinguishable” (61).


Momus’ unusual ability to shift shape, to look, as with Klamm, “different awake, different asleep, different alone, different in conversation,” ensures that, no matter the level or scale, his fractal influence will remain unchecked beneath the semblance of chaos. Speaking through the collective swarm, his clout will continue to be ignored, misunderstood, or underestimated because of the sheer abundance and absurdity in which his authority is cloaked. And even if unveiled, as with the unchecked power of Facebook, Google, Amazon, people just don’t want to think about it. In closing, Momus serves, however invisibly, as the mouthpiece for the rule of tyranny–


whether this is seen through to the tyranny of one or the tyranny of many, depends on the degree to which you have been fractured. Oh and with this fractal reading, The Castle, ending mid-sentence with “but what she said,” should be taken not as unfinished but, as mathematicians recognize fractals, open-ended.




Certainly, the vatic vision of mind control seems to have leaked out of The Castle, leaving its stain of “exhaustion, disappointment, inconsiderateness, and indifference” in the tourbillion of Trump’s Amerika. The Castle eerily anticipates the cold war objectives of Project CHATTER (Russian) and our own Germanic BLUE BIRD: to discover a means of conditioning personnel to prevent extraction of information, to explore the viability of controlling individuals by application of special interrogation. I’ll borrow from Bürgel’s disclaimer before wandering off too far: “I don’t want to get into the question of the true state of affairs, the illusion may actually correspond to reality, in my position I lack the distance that is necessary to establish that, but listen carefully to what I am saying, sometimes opportunities do arise” (261).

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